Pujols’ RBI single in 9th lifts Angels over Rangers 4-3

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Albert Pujols delivered a bases-loaded single with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Los Angeles Angels their first victory of the season, 4-3 over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Yunel Escobar drove in the Angels’ first two runs with a homer and RBI single in the opener of a four-game series.

Sam Dyson, who escaped a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the Angels’ eighth, gave up a one-out single by Johnny Giavotella in the ninth and a walk to Escobar. Both advanced on a grounder to third by pinch-hitter Carlos Perez, and Pujols greeted Shawn Tolleson with a line drive to left-center on a 1-0 pitch after Andrew Faulkner’s intentional walk to Mike Trout.

Huston Street (1-0) pitched a perfect inning to get the win. The Angels had lost 9-0 and 6-1 to the Chicago Cubs in their first two games.

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Trout led off the Angels’ eighth with a single against Keone Kela, and Pujols followed with an infield hit off Dyson (0-1).

C.J. Cron’s dribber up the third-base line also went for a hit, but Dyson struck out Kole Calhoun and retired Andrelton Simmons on a double-play grounder to third base.

Angels left-hander Hector Santiago was lifted in the seventh with a 3-2 lead after singles by Ian Desmond and Mitch Moreland gave Texas runners at the corners with none out. Elvis Andrus tied it with a sacrifice fly against Fernando Salas.

Texas starter Derek Holland took a 2-1 lead into the fifth before walking two of his first three batters. Calhoun scored on Escobar’s two-out single, and Craig Gentry drove in Geovany Soto with a double inside third base on a 3-2 pitch.

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Santiago allowed three runs — two earned — and four hits in six-plus innings with seven strikeouts and two walks. He gave up only one hit over the first five innings, a first-pitch homer by No. 9 hitter Robinson Chirinos leading off the third.

Holland gave up three runs, four hits and two walks in five innings and struck out five in his season debut. The 29-year-old lefty threw only one inning in his first start last season and spent the next four months on the disabled list with a strained shoulder.

Prince Fielder, who came in with no RBIs in 30 career at-bats against Santiago, hit a sacrifice fly in the first. The run was unearned because of a throwing error by third baseman Escobar, who was shifted to the right side with Shin-Soo Choo at the plate and made a backhanded flip over the head of second baseman Giavotella trying to start a double play on Choo’s grounder.

Escobar’s first homer as an Angel and the club’s first this season came with two outs in the third.

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Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre was 0 for 4 on his 37th birthday. He has played 14 games on this date, going 9 for 50 with a homer and five RBIs. . It was the first road game of the season for the Rangers, who led the AL with a 45-36 road record last year en route to the West Division title. . Andrus was 0 for 1 against Santiago, and has no RBIs in 29 career at-bats against him. . The bullpen has allowed 15 runs, 24 hits and four homers in 10 innings over the last three games. . Holland beat the Halos last Oct. 1 at Arlington to clinch a postseason berth for Texas.

Angels: Escobar led the AL with a .450 spring training batting average and did not strike out in 65 plate appearances. . SS Simmons was presented with his 2015 Wilson defensive player of the year award at home plate before the game. . Santiago was 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in six starts against Texas last season. . Santiago’s seventh career balk preceded Fielder’s sac fly.


Rangers: RHP A.J. Griffin will have his contract purchased from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday to start the second game of the series, marking his first big league appearance since Sept. 24, 2013, with Oakland. He signed with Texas as a free agent in December after missing the previous two seasons following Tommy John surgery.

Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker is 4-0 with a 2.39 ERA in four career starts against the Rangers. He begins his third full season in the majors after going 7-10 with a 4.42 ERA in 24 starts last season and surrendering 24 home runs.